By Keith Naughton | Bloomberg
General Motors outsold Ford Motor Co. in electric vehicles by nearly two-to-one in the first three months of the year as the automakers chase market leader Tesla Inc.
Ford sold 10,866 EVs in the US during the first quarter, according to a statement Tuesday. That was up 41% from a year ago, but was still well behind the 20,670 plug-ins GM sold in the same period. Overall, Ford’s light vehicle deliveries rose almost 10%, while GM’s first-quarter sales were up 17.6%.
Sales of Ford’s electric Mustang Mach-E fell 19.7% to 5,407 vehicles, with its factory in Mexico down for much of the quarter as the automaker expands it to double capacity to 210,000 models a year. Ford also lost five weeks of production of its F-150 Lightning plug-in pickup due to a battery fire, which led to a small recall.
Chief Executive Officer Jim Farley has set a goal to initially be No. 2 to Tesla, which controls two-thirds of the US EV market, and eventually overtake the EV leader. Ford is spending $50 billion to develop and build EVs through 2026, but has said it expects to lose $3 billion on battery-powered models this year.
Ford recently raised the starting price of its popular Lightning pickup to $59,974, up 50% from its original starting price of $39,974. The automaker also is boosting output to 150,000 models annually by the end of this year. The company’s sales analyst, Erich Merkle, said the price hike isn’t hurting sales.
“We don’t see any indication of slowing demand for the F-150 Lightning,” Merkle said. “Sales are limited by what we are able to produce.”
Ford is boosting capacity on all three of the electric models it has on sale. It said Tuesday it will add a third shift of workers at the Kansas City factory building its plug-in E-Transit van.